Lexi Hext didn’t feel the emotion of the moment until she saw the yellow roses.
The LCCVI student was the final skater to take the ice Sunday evening in tribute to her mom, Tracy, in the I Skate for Mom figure skating showcase.
Hext organized the event with help from her dad, Jim, to raise money for the St. Joseph’s Hospice Caring Heart’s Children’s Program – counselling services similar to that Hext used when her mom died earlier this year.
There were more than twenty routines performed by members of various local skating clubs during the showcase at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre. Hext had performed earlier in the showcase with the Alvinston Ice Angels Pre-Novice team, but for the final number, she skated on her own, performing a ballet-inspired routine to Swan Lake.
And the costume for Hext’s tribute to her biggest fan – her mom – was purchased by her mother before she died. Tracy loved to watch her daughter skate and encouraged her daughter to stick with figure skating when Hext was ready to give it up. “I didn’t want to let my mom down,” Hext says.
Hext had vowed she would think of the tribute just like any other skating show – and it worked in the beginning.
But when the performance ended and she caught sight of her mom’s co-workers waiting to hand her a bouquets of yellow roses – her mom’s favourite flower – she became emotional. “It was hard.”
Hext shared a heartfelt moment with her mom’s friends and with her dad before leaving the ice.
Jim says he knew the flowers would affect Lexi, so he and Tracy’s friends watched from the hallway so they wouldn’t distract her.
Jim bought a dozen yellow roses to give his daughter, but he wasn’t aware her friends each bought two dozen flowers for the young skater. “The whole back of the van was filled with flowers,” says Jim. The father and daughter started giving some of the flowers away to people who had helped with the fundraiser or played a special role in their life. “There were an awful lot of flowers and we didn’t know where to put them,” he laughs.
But there was one place Lexi knew they needed to go. “She took a dozen and went to the cemetery and put them on her mother’s grave site – that’s where they are now.”
Jim Hext says organizing the event was an amazing experience and he never thought it would raise over $11,000 for St. Joseph’s Hospice. “It was amazing just how much money was coming in at the arena,” he says adding before the event was held, every arena they went to people would give them donations for the cause.
Hext would like to see the event continue, although he’s not sure the family will take on the event themselves. He’s challenging the local figure skating clubs to take on the project as a fundraiser for hospice and a way to showcase their senior skaters each year.
Whether it continues or not, Hext says he’s very proud of his daughter skating ability and her determination to help. “I really don’t have words,” he says of Lexi’s time on the ice. “Trac would have really liked this.
“This is something Lexi did and this is exactly what Trac would have done.”